They find a hundred prehistoric engravings in a cave in Tarragona

A group of speleologists has discovered more than a hundred prehistoric engravings in the Cova de la Vila de La Febró (Tarragona), from the Chalcolithic-Bronze period, arranged on a panel eight meters long and which, according to what they say, are “exceptional both for their singularity and for the excellent state of conservation in which they are found”.

The find was made in a small cave discovered intact, which makes it “one of the few depictions of underground schematic art of the entire Mediterranean Arc. According to the experts, it is »a composition related to the worldview of the agricultural and livestock societies of the territory«.

The discovery of the engravings occurred on May 13, 2021 in some explorations and topographical work by a group of speleologists in the area known as Barranc de la Cova del Corral, as reported by the Cultural Advisory of the Generalitat and the Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution (Ip hes).

There they found the Cova de la Vila, a cavity excavated by Salvador Vilaseca during the 40s and whose location had been lost: through one of its entrances to the underground system they managed to open access in a small hole that led them to an oval room of more than 90 square meters.

After receiving photographs of the place from speleologists, the researchers Ramon Viñas and Joseph Vallverdú They visited the cave to confirm the historical authenticity of the set of engravings, later notified to the council.

About the group of rock art of the Sala dels Gravats de la Cova de la Vila, have added that «despite the fact that its study phase has not yet begun, everything seems to indicate that it will be among the best compositions of post-paleolithic underground schematic and abstract art in the Mediterranean basin«.

On one of the walls of the cave, a wide series of schematic-abstract representations has been identified, with a very simple design, and the panel is configured from five horizontal lines, one above the other, and in each of them there are different figures engraved with their own meaning and symbolism.

“Neotilization process”

According to Viñas, this composition of the panel in the Sala dels Gravats is unusual and indicates a “worldview on the part of the populations of the territory during the neolithization process.”

One of the singularities of this mural is that it was made exclusively with the engraving technique, either using a stone or wood tool in the case of the details, or directly with the fingers.

Quadruped figures, zig zags, linear and angular lines and circles are represented, and a series of zoomorphs (possibly bovids and equines), steliforms and reticulates stand out, as well as a composition that «reminds a eyed idol«.

The experts have affirmed that the set is very homogeneous stylistically and presents few overlaps, and from the stylistic point of view it is part of the postpaleolithic schematic artan art associated with farming and ranching communities.

The state of conservation of the engravings of the Cova de la Vila is “exceptional”, At the same time, it is delicate due to the instability of the support on which they are found: it is a soft and humid surface to which changes in the atmospheric conditions in the room could alter the conservation of the panel.

The Generalitat, Tarragona City Council and Iphes They have worked to close both the exterior and interior of the cave and guarantee its physical conservation, and to consolidate its protection, the Government has declared the site as Cultural Asset of National Interest in the category of archaeological zone.

By Editor

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